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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Mother With Crohn's Disease

I am not a medical doctor nor am I in any way qualified to give medical advice to anyone. I am just a mom who has Crohn’s Disease. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s in 2004 well into my 20’s. By the time I went to a gastroenterologist my symptoms and the correlating disease were quite unruly at best. To get to the point it took the better part of two years and several infusions of the miracle drug Remicade to bring my disease into remission. This was a very emotional time in my life. I was then put on Imuran at the 75mg dose to maintain my remission. During all of this I started to really want to have children. Now, I was fast approaching 30 so my husband and I decided to run with the idea of starting a family of our own.

We did not consult anyone about our decision because to consult would be to inadvertently solicit opinions and our decision had been made. I was finally in remission and we did not want to waste any time. Upon our speedy conception I went in search of advice from other mothers with the same disease or studies showing how these women remained in remission and/or breastfed. I did not find anything of value. I wound up taking the drug Imuran for maintennance of my remission at the 75mg dose daily through my entire first pregnancy. I kept taking it postpartum as well and this was the reason I did not breastfeed my first daughter. The pregnancy could not have gone smoother and 9 months later I had the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. She is almost 4 now and is like a present that I get to open every day.

I stayed on Imuran and got pregnant with my second daughter a little unexpectedly so I had not fully evaluated my health. My gastroenterologist and I had been talking about perhaps trying to wean me off of the drug Imuran to see how my body would react but once we found out I was pregnant we decided to wait until Inara arrived before we did anything that could potentially jeopardize my health. I went to Washington, DC to visit my brothers in November before Inara was born in December and for some reason I decided to stop taking my medication. I had decided that I was going to breastfeed and that was it. I did not take any more medication.

Inara was born in December of 2007 and I once again was blessed with a healthy baby. I breastfed her and she did wonderfully. Today she is 2 and as her name suggests she is a “ray of light” in our lives. We had now been blessed with two healthy girls.

What I do aim to do here is to let you know that you are not alone. If you have to take drugs to control your disease while you are pregnant that I did too and we came out OK. That there is another woman out there who has done it and has two healthy children to show for it. With some faith you can too. What I do not want to do though is encourage you to stop taking your medicine. Crohn’s disease is serious and taking your medicine is not something you should take lightly. That would probably be stupid (for lack of a better word) for most women who are pregnant and have Crohn’s as doing so could jeopardize your health and the health of your unborn child.

I wanted to put something out there that may find its way to a mother who is now in the same position that I was in almost four years ago when I was in search of solace. While you will not find a clinical trial to make you feel better or a doctor to give you a definitive “OK, go for it” you have now found a mother who did it and has no regrets.

Monday, December 28, 2009

That Was "A"

Those of you who have been married or in a relationship for a period of several years or more will probably be able to relate to this best. So, you know how after some time being with the same person you start to see your relationship sort of, evolve, if you will. I guess what happens first is that the flame that comes with a new relationship starts to maybe change colors a little. Maybe even dim. Now stay with me here, I am not at all feeling gloomy about long relationships nor am I saying anything negative at all. All I mean to say is that it is almost like the relationship with your loved one changes a little, much like a toddler who grows into a preteen, teenager and then an adult are the stages of growth of your relationship. Well, although “awakenings” do occur on occasion they are certainly not of the norm so I thought I would share a something I have recently stumbled upon in hopes that you could maybe benefit or even just have a laugh!

There is a stage that maturing relationships go through where you decide you just don’t want to fight about the small stuff. Some people call it “picking your battles” but whatever you call it you have decided that some things just need to be over looked. These things are small like maybe for the last several days you have been the one taking the trash out even though your partner has continued to throw things in it proving they have noticed it was full. They have just not been helping with that chore. I am pretty sure that has happened to me a few times as I feel certain there are some of you out there reading this right now nodding your heads in agreement. This is something you may choose the overlook since if you said something about this every time it happened A. you would be fighting too much and B. you have bigger fish to fry like why he bought a $900 smoker without consulting you first. There is one problem with this. Maybe you did not say anything about this irritating behavior this time but you seem to have a large storage area for irritating events like this one and each time your partner does something you choose not to argue about you file it away in the same place when what you should be doing, what you thought you were doing, was letting it go. Now he or she has done something that warrants a scolding and upon the ensuing argument you proceed to complain about how they are inconsiderate and how you are doing all the work too; so there! These allegations that are serious to your partner prompt them to ask for examples of how this is true and at this point you can no longer even remember all of the incidences and surrounding circumstances so the argument goes south from here. Sound familiar?

We have been running into similar situations recently and have come up with something that has really been working! So now when an incident like the trash thing comes up or when my husband makes a comment in his normal sarcastic tone that hurt my feelings (after 10 years I am still not immune to getting my feelings hurt by his mid-western sarcasm) then I immediately say that was “A.” Now I am sure I don’t need to tell you what “A” stands for. This has really reduced the amount of pent up aggression that is let loose on another day. Now my husband knows what I thought he did that sucked at the time that he did it and 7 times out of 10 we wind up laughing because it words “that was ‘A’” sound so funny some times. Not to mention the fact that these words are begin enough not to spark anyone’s temper so there is not unnecessary arguing either! If I were into New Year’s resolutions this would be one. Try it!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Official Kidding Around In Town 2009 Holiday Gift Guide

This is a guide to my favorite gifts. These are all things that would make great gifts for either the women you are buying for or for you. Don’t people all the time ask “what do you want for Christmas?” and you always say, truthfully, “I don’t know, nothing.” Well, me too so I decided to do some research on the things that I would like to get because I would never buy something for another woman that I would not want to have myself. That said, the following is A. a place you can go to get ideas about what to get the women you work with, your friends, your child’s teacher etc. B. a place you can go to find what to tell people who ask what you want for Christmas and lastly C. a place where you can refer to others for ideas (like the hubs).
This is a “local” gift guide but most of these things can also be purchased on line so it is useful for everyone. I chose to do this because there are so many local businesses out there that we need to support if we want to see them thrive. All too often when it comes time to buy gifts we run short of time and take the easy way out by either shopping on line or buying a gift card just to get it done with instead of taking the time (that I understand is in short supply) to look around for a truly special something. So this year I did the work for you; and it was so much fun! I went to stores in our local (Winston-Salem, NC) area and took pictures myself of things that I thought made good, smart and well priced gifts. The owners and managers of the shops mentioned deserve many thanks for their hospitality and willingness to help me find what I was looking for. So, with no further ado…
These are not in any meaningful order.
Hip Chics – 2668 Lewisville-Clemmons Road, Clemmons, NC is the neatest little boutique! They carry all sorts of things. Here I found three really neat ideas for gifts. Christmas ornaments that are really one of a kind and for $8.99 the price point is perfect for an ornament exchange where you want to give an ornament with a little flair or to be a part of a bigger gift.









They also have Mom Agendas which are my all time favorite to get a mom organized. There are many options in terms of functionality so you really just need to go in and look at them for yourself.








And lastly at Hip Chics they have “market totes” which as you can see could function as so many different things. I want one! You could use it in the floorboard of your car for kid's snacks, in the trunk of your car for toys, to carry cupcakes into the school for your child’s birthday or even in your home at the bottom of the stairs to carry things up. They are pretty and since they are made of canvas you can wipe them clean. For a bigger mess they are also machine washable and at $26.99 you can’t beat it!





DEVA - 49 Miller St Winston Salem, NC 27104
This is a jewelry store in Winston that I love. Everything in the store is so special and the owner, Deborah, makes a lot of her own stuff so you know it is one of a kind. One of my best friends even got her to die for wedding set made there. She has a ton of stuff but I wanted to bring your attention to these “mother’s rings” that Deborah makes herself with the birthstone of your choice and they are stackable so you can have one for each child. I would call this a “splurge” given the price range but for those of you who want to send the hubs or another family member in to get you something…They range from $195 to $245 in price for the sterling silver.
Next I found some pearl earrings that are also handmade in the store and are a little less expensive so they make great gifts for great friends. They range from $50-$75.

Then next door at Whole Foods I saw that they have these cute, useful and wonderfully smelling little rosemary trees sitting outside. There are many of them and they make great gifts when you don’t want to spend too much because they are $11.99 yet look like little Christmas trees and make the house smell wonderful. When the holiday season ends people can plant their tree in a pot and put it outside to enjoy fresh rosemary year round!




Wild Flower - 53 Miller Street in Winston is next. This is a clothing store that pretty much doesn’t have anything in it that I would not wear. There were so many things to choose from that in order not to allow “scope creep” I had to regroup many times.
In a basket at the register are the cutest scarves. They are by Preloved and are made of recycled trousers, sweaters, dress shirts and trench coats. They are soft and oh so warm as they are made like sleeves. They are $48 making them a great gift for someone special like a good friend or a sister.
Also in the same place in Wild Flower there are some really cute themed socks for $8.00 which are not only cute but also soft and really feel like they would be nice to have on your feet. There are also some really fun tights with cool designs next to the socks which are $26 making them a great fun gift for a friend.



O Baby Organics - 33 Miller Street makes the fourth store in this area! Completely coincidental but truly convenient for those of you who would like to see more than one of the items! This is an awesome store which you will hear more about in the future but once again I had to allow time for re-grouping in the interest of the scope of this project. Two things here that I thought would make great gifts are Spooneez and Pitter Patter Patchwork stationary.
The Spooneez I wish I had when my kids were just a tad younger! “Spooneez is a mom’s answer to clean and organized baby utensils. It’s easy – just place your spoons and/or other items in the pockets, fold the top over, roll up.” At $26 they are priced perfectly to be a great gift! Not only are they awesome but Spooneez were invented by local moms so you would be supporting local business x2 if you bought this great gift for a mom with young ones!
The stationary by Pitter Patter Patchwork is really cute and for $12.99 you can get a set of five cards and envelopes. This is also made by a local woman. A nice gift for just about any female!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Person Called "Dad"

Have you ever noticed that when a person named “daddy” enters the house the proverbial poopoo hits the ceiling fan? Seriously, I am not knocking the ever loved man figure we know affectionately as “daddy” I am just making a point. When I have been home with the kids in the afternoon for even just an hour before the man (daddy) gets home the kids have eaten and are calmly playing with their toys or reading books while I prepare dinner. As I lift the last piece of Salmon from the skillet I hear door hinges creaking and a gruff voice saying “hi ladies.” This is the beginning of the end.

Those calm, mild mannered little ladies are nowhere to be found. From their bodies emerge things that I can only describe as wild animals and hope you get the picture. What was a calm and peaceful home seconds before has now turned into a barn filled with wild animals. Now commence the shrieks of “daddy, daddy let me tackle you” or “daddy up, daddy up.” Well, when the answer to “can I tackle you” and “daddy up” is given as “not right now ladies, can I just get a hug?” you would think that daddy came into the house and stomped on the heads of their baby dolls. This is when my job gets harder (that’s why they call me mommy); almost impossibly hard. Now comes the part where daddy wants to go back to work because of the never ending and ever dramatic crying, wailing and screaming of a three year and 23 month old girl.
My husband now looks at me and asks “have they been like this all day?” or my favorite “what is wrong with them?” and I can taste the blood from my tongue being bitten dripping down my throat as I kindly reply “dinner is ready are you hungry?” when what I really want to say is “you taught them to act like this in the first place, if it wasn’t for you they would not even know what ‘tackle’ meant, they are excited to see you and this is for some strange reason the way they show that they are happy to see their daddy.” Finally after about 30 minutes we (I) have managed to turn their frowns upside down as Toys R Us would say and then it is time for the bath. We are at it again.

When I take the girls upstairs by myself they do what I say. I don’t know why, they just do. It is simple. Get undressed, sit on the potty, get into the tub. One, two, three. Every time it is the same. When daddy accompanies us up the stairs it takes an extra ten minutes to get both girls into the tub because ultimately my oldest has to be peeled off of her daddy panting madly and crying all the way to the tub in the middle of their WWF World Wrestling Championship in her princess tent. After all of the effort and time spent I then have to be subjected to “what is a few extra minutes anyway?” from daddy dearest. Seriously, what is a couple of extra minutes? Easy for you to say when I am the one who is going to have to contend with super excited children who don’t want to wind down and I am the one who is going to have to get them into bed and off into the land of nod myself. So did I answer the question about a few extra minutes, daddy? We all love our daddies, no doubt about it but I wonder if it is the same at your house?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

You Don't Have to be a Martyr to be a Great Mom!

Being a mom does not mean that you have to “take one for the team.” Really, you can be a stay-at-home-mom or any other kind of mom (i.e. a work-at-home-mom, a full-time working mom, etc. etc.) and have a glorious and fun existence. My good friend Dawn helped to bring this to my attention. We were talking about our own moms and how many moms out there have a real “martyr” mindset and how it does not have to be like that. You don’t have to feel pain and sacrifice everything in the name of your children to be a good (even the best possible) mom! So many moms from our mother’s generation (60ish years old) have this thing where they need to feel like they have given up their own lives for their children. Not only do they need to feel this way but they also feel a burning desire to talk about it at every given opportunity and even some created opportunities. I am not saying that they did not sacrifice for us or that their sacrifices mean nothing. What I am saying is that if you are going to be the best mother to your children possible then you need to own it! As a mother you should be proud of who you are and the choices that you have made so that your kids can love the life they live. No matter who says what!

Being an awesome mom does not mean that you cannot take a shower because they want to do something else and then you go around complaining about how you do not get to even do simple things like shower. It means that if you choose to do something with your children other than make them sit in the bathroom floor while you shower (guilty!) then own it! Be happy about the decisions you make. If you are confident in your self and happy about your life then these feelings will inevitably penetrate into the lives of your children and make being a mother fun! Remember, I did not say that it is not the toughest (emotionally and physically) job in the world I just said you have to make it fun! Now go shower!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Flu Shot vs FluMist - A Mother's Guide

Flu Shot vs Mist

Ok, so I had a lot of questions about the topic of the flu and the vaccinations my girls would be receiving. I did some research and found that the most helpful information from the standpoint of being a mother came from an institution that is in my own backyard. The Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center web site is the source of all of the following information. Most of it is actually cut and pasted directly from their pages and I have included the links…

The flu shot contains killed (inactive) viruses, so it is not possible to get the flu from this type of vaccine. However, some people do get a low-grade fever for a day or two after the shot as their immune systems gear up to recognize the virus. The flu shot is approved for people age 6 months and older.

The FluMist is a nasal spray-type flu vaccine which uses a live, weakened virus instead of a dead one like the flu shot. It is approved for healthy people aged 2 to 49. The vaccine helps the lining of the nose fight off actual viral infections. It should not be used in those who have asthma or children under age 5 who have repeated wheezing episodes.
The above information came directly from our (Winston-Salem’s) very own Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and can be found at http://www.besthealth.com/Health+Encyclopedia/Disease/article?subcat=Disease&ac=C&lg=en&ptid=1&gcid=002025

Some things I wonder about as a mother are:

Is there a time interval required between the seasonal and H1N1 vaccines or can they both be taken at the same time?
The seasonal and H1N1 FluMist vaccines may not be taken within thirty days of one another. All other combinations of the two vaccines (two injectable or one injectable and one FluMist) may be taken at the same time.

Is H1N1 a live vaccine?
Just like the seasonal vaccine, the H1N1 vaccine is being manufactured in both live attenuated (FluMist) and inactive (injectable) forms.

Have any clinical trial results been completed for the H1N1 vaccine? How can we be confident that it is safe?
The H1N1 vaccine is being produced following exactly the same process as the seasonal vaccine. Moreover, the only H1N1 vaccines approved by the FDA for use in the United States contain the exact formulations that have been used in our influenza vaccines for decades and contain no adjuvants (accelerants/boosters) or new additives. The difference between the seasonal and H1N1 vaccines is the same as the difference between this year's seasonal vaccine and last year's seasonal vaccine. Influenza vaccines are adjusted annually to attempt to make the strains in the vaccine match the major strains that are causing infection throughout the world as closely as possible.

Is a preservative (Thimerosal) free vaccine made for both the seasonal flu and H1N1?
Both the seasonal and H1N1 FluMists are Thimerosal-free. The injectable H1N1 vaccine contains Thimerosal because it comes in multi-dose vials. A large body of evidence supports that Thimerosal is not harmful in the quantities contained in the influenza vaccines. Manufacturers do make limited quantities of an injectable seasonal vaccine that is Thimerosal-free for those with Thimerosal allergies. Check with your primary care physician for availability.

I have a cold and cough but no fever. Should I wait to take the flu vaccine?
Unless you have a fever of at least 100.0 Fahrenheit oral temperature, there is no reason for you to wait to take the injectable flu vaccine. In most instances, you may also take the intranasal FluMist vaccine. However, if your nasal congestion is bad enough to impede the delivery of the intranasal vaccine then you should get the injectable vaccine or wait a few days until the nasal congestion improves.

Like I said I did a search of the entire web and found this to be the most comprehensive and helpful information for mothers. The link to their site is below. I think you will find answers to any other questions you may have there as well!

http://www1.wfubmc.edu/Influenza/Staying+Healthy/Flu+Vaccine+FAQ.htm
I hope this helps!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Why Don't We Inspire Moms Instead?

Ouch! I just read an article in the New York Times entitled “Survey Highlights Conflicts for Working Mothers” and boy it kinda stung. I wonder what the goal was. Knowing women and adding to that mix the title “mother” of course we feel guilty for not being with our children. There may be some of us out there who are actually OK and even content with our decision (if this is your choice) to be a working mother but I dare say that the vast majority of us would not feel that way. We feel guilty for everything for goodness sakes. From our husband’s forgetting their lunches to our parent’s loneliness issues we do not need help! So when you are talking about our children it does not take a survey to tell you that we feel guilty leaving them in the care of someone else all day! Our kids mean everything to us.

Of us mothers of course “most say they would prefer to work part time” what did you honestly think we would say? I have two little girls and the month of September was my first full month of officially being a SAHM (stay at home mom) so I can tell you with certainty that of course we think that, for a child, a full time working mother is less than ideal! Come on, who really says “thank goodness I am working because if I were taking cake of Johnny all day long it would mess him up good!” Maybe there are a few of us out there who feel that way but the vast majority of us mothers do know that we are the best caregivers of our own children. Period. There is nobody out there who can care for my girls as well as, and leave alone better, than I can. So, with all due respect when you put something out there like the article I am speaking of maybe you should consider what you are trying to accomplish. Because while there was some interesting demographic information about which mothers are choosing a life of staying at home on the whole instead of shedding light on much of anything a few more mothers may have even been put in the dark as the evidence of their inadequacy has grown even more irrefutable. Chances are that many more mothers wish they could stay at home than do so why doesn’t someone write something to help encourage those mothers instead?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Stay At Home Parent

I want to first acknowledge that not all moms desire to stay at home. I totally get it. You not only have no desire to stay at home but you cannot understand even for a second why anyone would want to. I get it. This is a post about those of us who are or want to be stay at home parents. I do however think you could benefit from reading on since you never know about what your children may choose to do and you may see another side of things.

Why is it that when we are young no one ever tells us that “hey one day you might have kids and if you do you might feel the desire to stay at home with them, and well, if you do it is OK and maybe even natural?” Seriously, did anyone ever say anything like that to you when you were growing up? If so, did you benefit from that? I certainly could have. No one ever even mentioned to me this possibility. I think that is kind of HUGE. This information may have influenced decisions I made educationally and otherwise. How about with you? If you are a stay at home mom who used to work outside of the home how do you feel about the importance of such information. And don’t get me wrong, I realize that the number of stay at home dads continues to rise but since I am a mom who once had a very successful career outside of my home I am interested in their thoughts. I am not discriminating though, if you are a stay at home dad who wants a share of voice please speak up too.

I was raised in a house where education was pretty much the most important thing in our lives. My dad was a physician (he is now retired) and therefore he and my mom placed a great deal of emphasis on academics, especially math and science. I can in no way say that my parents did anything wrong, it is just that my upbringing is very relevant to this post. I am also the oldest of four siblings and all three of my younger brothers are physicians or on their way to becoming physicians. I myself went to school for science and have a strong science background. Even in my career in the pharmaceutical industry I never thought in a million years that I would feel the way I started feeling when our second child was born. I had a drive for work that words cannot describe and coupled with my burning desire to be number one at what I did I was the best of the best. I was going to be CEO and nothing was going to stop me. Right? Wrong. I had children and everything about me changed. Ultimately money did not matter to me because although I tried to go back to work after Inara was born I only lasted 20 months. My heart was always at home. And it was not that I did not have good childcare as their grandmothers were the main ones in charge of them when I was working. It was that I literally ached not to be with my girls. I wanted to do everything with them and that desire only grew to the point that it finally outgrew the importance of money in our lives. My husband and I both wanted for me to stay at home with our girls so much that I just walked away from what was probably the best and most flexible job a mother could ever have to stay at home with my girls. I have not looked back since.

Was there a way for someone to be able to prepare me for these feelings? And if so then the next step would have been to consider a plan. Like perhaps looking at careers that mothers can have that might facilitate them being with their kids. For example, a woman can be a nurse and work a full weekend while hubbie is at home with the kiddos and then you trade during the week. Or like a career as a Physician’s Assistant which can allow you to pick and choose your times so you can literally work only a few hours a day while your babies are at a mother’s morning out or something. Even teaching school can be the perfect gig for a mother as you are at home when they are.

Just a thought. What do you think?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Dads do Rock!

I really must tell you that I can be hard to live with. I know, I know you think I am a saint and as pure as an angel can be but believe you me I do have some faults. My husband and I met on November 14, 1998, the year I graduated from college. The short version of how we met is that we were set up. The long version is the subject for an entirely different post and perhaps a glass or two of wine. We got engaged after only 8 months of knowing each other. It was an indisputable case of what is commonly referred to as “love at first sight.” A year and a half later on May 27, 2000 we were married at the Georgian Terrace in Atlanta, GA where I grew up.

The last 9 years of our marriage have definitely had their ups and downs. Sometimes like a rollercoaster and other times like the smoothest ship you have ever sailed. None-the-less we always get through everything and wind up still loving each other. I think it is just that we were meant to be together. This becomes clearer to me daily. In 2006 we had our first daughter, Andira and then in 2007 (yes, I did say 2007) Inara was born. While the first six or so months are a blur now the products of them will amaze me daily until my time on earth ends. As will the evolution of Tyler (my husband) and our marriage.

Tyler married a woman who no longer exists. He fell in love with and married a head strong (that has not changed) and career driven woman who would stop at nothing to be the best at work and at driving her career to the topmost place possible. That woman was also driven strongly by earning potential and without a doubt worked for money – and wanted lots of it. Today I am not even sure who that was or what that felt like. What was once a tough career woman who knew not what inner peace was is now a mother who searches for the peace inside of herself daily and who would rather do nothing other than be with her children. Hi, I am Shazana. And through it all Tyler has not only stuck by me but he has pulled me up. During times of darkness and uncertainty he shined light into my soul and he is the reason for the wonderful life I have today. I don’t tell him that enough. He has worked countless hours and through many frustrations to build a web site for me to be able to share my interests of children, parenting, cooking, and much more with the world.

We often talk about what is wrong with our relationships but I wanted to talk about what is right. Very right. My husband is making my dreams come true. Not only has he built this site for me but he has also allowed me to give up my substantial income to be able to stay home with our girls. I find this the most unbelievable and courageous part about all of this. His (and my) once money driven existence has disappeared without a trace. The man sitting across the table from me right now is a man who has expressed his love to me and to his children through his unselfish actions and this has changed the way I look at him and at the world. He is willing to significantly reduce our household income in the name of two little girls who want to be with their mother. Is there a better definition of “father?”

We are all so blessed.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Let's Talk About Autism and Vaccinations

Both the spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, Ari Brown, and the Institute of Medicine have “definitively” denied any link between thimerosal (the preservative found in vaccines) or the MMR vaccine and Autism. They are citing 5 studies that have tracked thousands of children since 2001 and say that no link between the vaccines and Autism exists. I am well aware of the debate that goes on daily and my heart goes out to those parents who feel that the MMR vaccine or thimerosal are to blame for the state of their Autistic child. But I just can’t help but wonder how can we debate facts? Some say that the levels of mercury in the vaccines are nowhere near harmful and others claim that the levels are higher than what would be permissible by the EPA for adults. Who is correct? Both sides can be convincing. It is important to be able to look at the body of evidence available and then to make a decision based on what the facts show. If we do not vaccinate then we are at risk for disease so we really need to know if it is worth withholding the potentially lifesaving vaccines from the tender and helpless bodies of our babies.

My children were both vaccinated according to the schedule prescribed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. And schools require vaccination records before they will admit a child into their program. If you are one of the ones who have chosen not to vaccinate how do you get around this? And do those of us who have vaccinated our children want those unprotected children in the vicinity of our schools?

Believe me when I say that I know you are hurt. If I believed that vaccinations caused my girls to be Autistic I can’t imagine how hurt I would be. But I can’t help but wonder why, if studies have denied any link, and guidelines have remained the same, we are not looking at other possible causes. The Autism rate has been increasing over the last two decades so there is probably a cause somewhere out there. What if we are focusing on the wrong thing? Thimerosal has even reportedly been removed from most vaccines since 1999 but the rates of Autism continue to climb even despite this.

Should we look elsewhere?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Kids Sure Can Make You Laugh!

So I was leaving my Daughters’ school this morning (The Montessori School) when behind me I heard a mother laughing. I turned around to see if she was laughing at me since I am sure the sight of me ducking to avoid the (very low) window so that my 20 month old would not see me leave was quite comical. It actually took her a minute and then she said “no, it was not you” when she caught her breath she continued “it’s my son, you see I have been watching him for the last 10 minutes and the teachers have been trying to get him to be quiet and settle down to listen to the story they are reading. Well, he finally does, after some convincing, actually settle down and now he is trying to tell the other children to be quiet!” We then both laughed at how silly our kids can be and I thought of so many times when my older girl tells my younger one that she is going to get put in “time out” if she does the thing that I just told the older one not to do. It is just so cute that you have to laugh. Like yesterday in Hallmark my 3 year old was speaking to a lady who was also shopping for cards and having quite a good conversation which made me smile and then she tops it off by saying “it was nice to meet you” when the woman starts to walk away. To hear a 3 year old say those words is just cute! By the time the other mother at school and I parted ways we had concluded that we would never laugh this hard if it were not for our kids.

What has your kid done to make you laugh lately?

Monday, August 31, 2009

How Do You Define "Liberation?"

This morning another one of my good friends entered back into the workforce after her maternity leave. What once was the occasional “I am so sad today, I miss my kids” has turned into a feeling best described by a severing of limbs. I know this is graphic and I definitely do not mean to be gross but I think we are all missing raising our children more and more. Tears, sadness and depression have become the norm lately for all mothers I know who work away from their children. I am not sure why.

My friends and I are certainly at the appropriate age to be experiencing these emotions since we are in the prime of child rearing so that maybe some of it but I think that this is more. Something is happening on a deeper level. Is there another movement out there starting to stir? Is this the “anti-feminist” (that is “feminist” as we most popularly hear about it) movement? I know some of you may be defensive of this but hear me out. I am all for “equal pay for equal work” and “women's suffrage” but I am also all for whatever makes you happy. Ironically enough today is the first day that I have been unemployed since 1998 when I graduated from college. Today I am 33 years old and have stepped out of the work force and away from my not-so-negligible salary to be at home with my girls. I get to do everything for them MYSELF and to me that is liberating. What is liberating to you?

God bless my sweet and supportive husband for without him I would not be able to make such a dramatic change.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

When He Is Away...

I do seem to get more done when he is not home. Why the heck would that be true? I have two children three and under so it is not like help is not of value to me. I certainly do need and readily accept help but I noticed last Tuesday night when my husband went to play tennis, which he does every Tuesday night, that every time he is gone I seem to get everything done no problem and have both girls in bed on time, early even. Then I started thinking about times when he has been gone for a couple of days at a time and how I always get the laundry done and the house in order during his absence. My husband is by no means lazy at all. He cooks, takes care of the kids, and straightens the house as well as the rest of them (husbands )but for some reason things are neater, easier, and sometimes more peaceful when he is away…Is it because he is like having another kid?

I could argue for or against this at any given time but I think the true answer is; maybe. For example I don’t mind if my kids are whining for a few minutes because they want my attention but I am cleaning up the living room before their bath so I don’t have to do it once I come down from putting them to bed. But when my husband is home I can’t allow them to whine because he cannot tolerate that sound. So the house stays messy until either he cleans it up while I am bathing them, he comes down and cleans it up, or I come down and clean it up. Which means we get “done” later.

Or maybe it is even because of the mess he makes. If it isn’t the clothes, shoes, and work bag all around the house then it is the dirty dishes from the meal he had to have when I could have been happy with a sandwich or a bowl of cereal. All I can tell you is that he is gone right now (to Kentucky for a Fantasy Football draft which may be the topic of another post for the way I feel about that…) and it is 8:00 pm, both kids are sound asleep and I am having a glass of wine while writing this post. I will probably be asleep very soon myself.

The “why” of it I may never know but what I do know is that I am not alone. So many of my friends have the same experiences when their husbands are gone. Maybe we should start a new holiday and call it “Productive Women’s Day” when we all send our husbands away so we can get stuff done!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Amazing Bond Between Mothers

It is amazing the bond between mothers. Tonight my daughters had their last classes. One finished “dancenastics” at Salem Gym and the other finished gymnastics at the same place. They both had great fun! But what I wanted to talk to you about is the incredible and pretty immediate bond that mothers can share. Harmonie, Julie and I laughed tonight about how much we had talked all summer long while our daughters danced (or cried) and tonight as we exchanged personal e-mail addresses we did not even know one another’s names!

I mean there have been several months and many more topics of conversation shared among us. From what we found going on around the Triad to who cares for our girls to what we thought of schools in the area. Such a wide range and of things that we openly shared our inner thoughts and feelings about without even exchanging names! And I felt such warmth as I sat in the bleachers with them on Tuesday nights. When I forgot my daughter’s ballet bag one Tuesday they were the first (and only) ones to tell me that it was alright and to try and console me. I find this truly amazing.

I wonder why we mothers share so openly with one another. I think it is because once you become a mother and regardless of anything else it is understood by other mothers that we need each other. Our husbands are nice don’t get me wrong, but sometimes it is so nice to start at the same point of understanding with someone. You see, no matter what anyone says mothers and fathers are distinctly individual. That is not to say that in extenuating circumstances men cannot morph into what their kids need in a mother. What I am saying is that they did not start that way. When our children are placed into our arms we never let them go and this is one thing that all of us share, embrace and understand. Our hubbies might try but we are the only ones who truly get it…I love all you moms.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Faith

“Nobody who gets old and looks back on their life says ‘gosh, I wish I would have worked more and spent less time with my kids.’” The wise words of a woman who now has 2 adult children and often wishes she had spent more time with them as they grew up. They are also the words that pushed me over the metaphorical edge. On Thursday I gave my two week notice and for all intents and purposes retired from the workforce and my pretty lucrative job in pharmaceutical sales. As women it is our responsibility to do what feels right to us since we are usually the pillars of the family. I am now going to do what I love the most and that is raise my two girls and take care of my family.

People have said to me “you are lucky you can do that,” and these words puzzle me. What do you mean “I can do that?” The truth is that it is not really a “can” it is more of a “will.” You see, I have not won the lottery nor have I inherited a large sum of money from anywhere that will guarantee me anything. But what guarantees are we given in life anyway? The only thing you are guaranteed is the moment you are in and the fact that one day your physical body will parish. I recently heard the story of a 30 year old woman from Ohio who was taken to the hospital on a Saturday for having a seizure out of the blue and she died on Monday. She left behind her a young son (pray for him). Do you think that if she would have known that she was going to die at 30 she would have worried about work, retirement, money or tenure? I guess it is possible that she loved her job but the more likely answer is that she would have spent every moment with those she loved and doing what she loved. I do not mean to be morbid or to suggest that our decisions in life should be influenced at all by a fear of death. More what I am saying is that we should spend our time here on earth feeling good, being happy, making others happy and doing what we love. I have just been pulled so hard in the direction of my children that gradually the importance of money fell away from my (and my husband’s) mind. To me there is so much joy, love and peace spontaneously generated when I can care for my girls myself that it has somehow replaced the need for me to think about money. I think I now understand exactly what people mean when they say “faith.” I have stepped out on faith so to speak and I know that because I am doing what feels right to me that it will hold me up.

Have you ever stepped out on faith?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Enjoy Each Moment

Tonight while I was putting my 3yo girl to bed something hit me. I had finally gotten her to sleep and (believe me when I say that we have “Baby Wise-ed” and “Furberized” her to the max) was sneaking out of her bed ever so stealthily with the intent of leaving her sleep intact when it occurred to me how much time I spend sneaking out of the bed with her. Every nap and bed time I get her to sleep and then there I am trying to be a contortionist aiming to get out of her bed as I cringe and flinch at every creak and pop of the bed until finally I am out and off into whatever I feel I need to be doing. Off into the freedom that I want at the moment.

The thing about this is that one day the roles will be reversed and she will be sneaking away from me. We all did it. You know, sneaking out of the homes where our parents slept as we went gallivanting through the neighborhood with the boy of the hour. All too soon she is going to want me to leave her room so that she can get on with her own life. I am not suggesting that she is going to actually sneak out of our house (she would never want to nor would she ever get away with this. Right?) I am saying that just around the corner is the day when she does not want me to put her to bed at all anymore. And then what will I do with my time? I assure you that I will not be any more productive than I am now with the time I sometimes think I desperately need to get work done.

We cannot nor should we want to stop the natural progression of life but it is our responsibility to enjoy the moments we are given. I am actually quite grateful for this revelation of sorts because it has drawn my attention to the rush I am in to get her to bed and into the “land of nod” so that I can tackle whatever task is beckoning me away from what is truly important. Now. That is what I need to have my complete attention on and put my full energy toward. This very moment. What an angelic sight she is to see as she sleeps. With her eyes closed she looks like a cherub. I will enjoy these moments more now. Aren’t they all we really have in the end?

Monday, August 3, 2009

What Were You Before You Became a Mother or Father?

Oh yeah, I am a sister too…

Before I became a wife and then a mother I was a sister. I am the oldest of 4 children and the only girl. And a “girlie girl” at that. This should set the stage for you. Now add in the fact that I am five and a half years older than a set of twin brothers. I remember the day my parents brought them home from the hospital. I was in love with them at first sight. In fact I think they were the first men that I ever loved. I am a daddy’s girl and do love my dad but he was different when I was little and that is the subject for another time.

Growing up I always kind of thought I was their mom and was always carrying them around everywhere I went. I brushed their teeth, gave them baths and put them to bed with nighttime stories. While my role did change as we aged into little adults we stayed this close. I deemed it my responsibility to ensure that they were taken care of in the best way possible. It wasn’t that my mom was not there it was just that we were the first generation of Indians in my family to be born in the United States so my parents sometimes did not know what to do in certain situations. When I left for college they had just started their eighth grade year in school and I remember not being able to pick them up and carry them anymore. It was pretty sad.

When I started writing this, I was sitting in the DoubleTree hotel in Bethesda, MD, on a hotel bed, next to my own three year old girl awaiting the graduation of one of my baby brothers from medical school. How weird?! He got married last year to a young lady who is a dermatology resident and he will start his residency in a couple of months in Emergency Medicine in Dallas, TX where they just bought their first new home. Time sure does fly. I feel as proud and excited his mother (my mom) does.

Today I feel especially thankful for having him in my life. I am so thankful that my mom had them and that we had the opportunity to become so close. My brothers (all three of them) are the keepers of my secrets, the guardians of my heart, and the reasons for so many happy times in my life. We are soul mates. I truly believe that certain people are meant to be together and personally I am lucky that I did not have to look outside of my own home growing up to find them.

I think as mothers and wives it becomes easy to forget some of our other roles. The part we play as mothers is to me the most important and rewarding for sure but there were those times when we were not mothers and we made lasting impressions and built lasting relationships with others who at the time were the most important people in our lives. If you are an older sister you will probably be able to relate to this best because I have found that we older sisters have a bond. Particularly with those older sisters who have younger brothers. My brothers’ wives also appreciate me (maybe because they too have younger brothers) for the fact that my brothers make really wonderful husbands. In general, men who have older sisters know how to get along with and care for women and make the best partners. Do you remember before you were a mom or dad?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Do Quality Kids' Shoes Have to be SO Expensive?

So, shoes for kids. Oh so expensive right? I love to shop for shoes for my kids and I don’t think it is just because they are girls. There are some really cute boy’s shoes too. Is there a way to get around paying upwards of $40 for shoes for a toddler? Well, there may be but I have not yet found it.

Let me just say that I L-O-V-E zappos.com. You probably know they have recently been purchased by Amazon for a reported 10 million shares of Amazon stock. When they first came around I used to price shop them and if someone was less expensive I would buy from a competitor or another store. But now, after many years of buying from them, I don’t do that anymore - I am loyal to them. I like them and their service so much that I shop there for many of the shoes I buy but especially for my kids. Do you know how quickly the shoes you order arrive? Or how easy it is to return shoes? Well, overnight and almost effortless. But that is not really what I wanted to talk about. I wanted to talk about the style and brands of shoes that I have been most pleased with.

My kids have small feet, my 3 year old wears a 7 and my 19 month old wears a size 4, but I have really tried many different shoes. I have bought and been very happy with the Target brand “Circo.” Those shoes last and last and seem comfortable enough for daily wear. But when I buy shoes for serious activity I pay close attention to comfort and build. I look at the amount of padding, where the padding is, how much toe coverage there is and if socks must be worn with them or not. Before they were adept at walking both of them lived in Robeez. People gave me Pedipeds but I never really used them as much as the Robeez. If you have a child who is cruising but not yet walking on their own, get them! They are awesome.

Both my girls’ first pair of walking shoes were Stride Rites. Those are what I recommend especially for early walkers. They are oh so comfortable for those tender and unstable little feet. Stride Rites seem to somehow help with the process of learning to walk as well. They seem to have the perfect combination of comfort and stability to help a young one get the confidence they need to become proficient at walking on their own. I also recommend Jumping Jacks for those children who are on the early side of walking. They are similar to Stride Rites in their build and comfort they just don’t seem soft enough to actually help a child learn to walk. I also love Geox shoes and New Balance shoes for my 3 and under girls. My 3 year old has been wearing the same pair of Geox tennis shoes for a year. I did buy them a little big so they have fit her for a long time but they have also held up beautifully. She goes to school every day and plays outside and they still look brand new. She just grew out of them so I will need to get another pair. The New Balance ones I have to replace the Geox shoes are both cute and comfy as well. I bought them at my local New Balance store.

The last brand I want to mention is Nina. I just went onto Zappos.com a couple of days ago searching for a pair of sandal type shoes that the girls can wear without socks and would go with the sundresses that they want to wear all summer. I also wanted the shoes to be somewhat waterproof. And yes you can search by these criteria on Zappos.com. I chose these shoes because they are the cutest little white leather sandals. Well, I can’t get my 19 month old to take them off! She totally digs these shoes and wants to wear them without socks all day long. It’s a good thing they are adorable. Both girls have been wearing them without socks and seem to really like them. All of the brands that I just mentioned commonly cost $40+! My experience is that with children’s shoes you get what you pay for... I just wish you didn’t have to pay so much!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Feel Like You Spend Too Much Money on Your Hair?

Have you ever noticed how your hairstylist could probably double as your therapist? I was getting my hair done today by a girl who I have been going to for a couple of years now and really like her work. I not only like the way she does my hair but I also really like her personality and I think that now that I am in my mid 30’s this does play a part in who I choose to do my hair. I am certainly not selling her skills short by any stretch but the fact that I like her “council” since she is a smart, caring and delightful person does not hurt and probably helps when it comes to doing my hair.

I had never really thought about it until I was in her chair today and overheard another woman on a rant about some random thing that was obviously very important to her. I caught myself eavesdropping and thinking “wow, she sure airs her dirty laundry out in public.” It was only then that I realized that this was what I had been doing for the last hour + that I had been there myself. It was just that her hair dryer got turned off right at the climax of her story and she was too heated to lower her voice so we all overheard her confessions to her hair stylist that were meant to be shared in private. I then started having flashes of my past visits to my beloved hair stylist and some of the intimate conversations I had had with her. I mean I had not ever thought about how much she knows about me. I proceeded to ask her “did you ever realize that you are all therapists?” Well, this was obviously not news to her as she answered my question with a chuckle and a “yes, sometimes people want an unbiased opinion or some encouragement or support.” That was what I had just, inadvertently, gotten from her. I had just shared some of my deepest secrets with this woman who while I had been seeing her for a couple of years I did not even know her last name! I always just go in there and unload whatever is ailing me at the time and somehow I leave not only with a spectacular “do” but a lighter heart and an added vote of confidence!

So the next time you come down on yourself (as we all sometimes do) about how much money you spend on your hair just remember this; you got a therapy session, an unbiased opinion and a dedicated friend for an entire couple of hours. It is actually quite a bargain!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Natural Baby Products: Hard to Find? Yes!

I have just finished spending upwards of an hour on trying to buy a detangler for my girls. Let me back up. I am the mother of two beautiful and delicate little girls. A three year old and an eighteen month old. Since shortly after the first one was born I have been tuned into the talk about the brands of personal hygiene products that we have been used to using for generations and the controversies surrounding their ingredients. I have been trying to feed them organically and to bathe and lube them up with the most gentle and wholesome products possible. Do you have any idea how hard it has been for me to number one find products that work and then number two to keep a good stock of them?

OK, so I did not start this way right out of the gate. One of the gifts I was given at a baby shower was a tube of Aveeno baby wash. Well, naturally I used it. Then about a month later and right when the tube was almost empty I got an e-mail from a friend concerning not only the baby wash I was using but also so many of the familiar brands I had also been gifted. As I read the message I became pretty uncomfortable with the choice I had made about which products to use on my newborn baby girl. Allegations like “cancer causing” and “numbing agents” really made an impression on me. I immediately started searching through the Parents Magazine list attached to the e-mail for some safer alternatives.

My first choice was a brand called “Tribe Kids” and I was quite happy with my decision. I was able to read the label without the use of a dictionary which made me feel more at ease with using the stuff on the skin of my then infant. Since that time I have been reading the labels of many of the products I have in my house and what I have found has been kind of alarming. Anyway, I now use the label as one way to decide whether or not I feel safe allowing the product to touch the skin of my girls. Well, “Tribe Kids” has since gone out of business following many months of not being able to supply products. My guess is that this might have something to do with the fact that it is very expensive to make such high quality products and preserving them has in some cases proven to be even more of a feat. So you can only make what you can sell for fear that it will spoil. I then turned to a brand called “Earth Mama Angel Baby.” I really like this line. Their lotion smells so good you will want to eat your little one . My issues with them are #1 SHIPPING COSTS which if you will excuse me for a moment I would like to return to this and #2 tangles. What the heck is up with people expecting you to pay $10+ for an 8 oz bottle of lotion and then almost half that in shipping? Why don’t people get smart and either expand production or get distributors in other places? All of these “pure” types of products seem to be made in CA or some other place far away and not to mention that they weigh a ton to ship which can be an issue for a North Carolina girl like me who is trying to get them. I know, I hear some of you saying that I can go to Whole Foods or O’baby Organics. Have you ever tried to do that? If you read the labels of many of the baby products in Whole Foods (which I do love Whole Foods) what you will find is that more often than not you see “glycerin” and many ingredient names or chemical formulas that you will not recognize on the label and then we are back to square one. Move on to another product. With me, the most important part is not the “organic” stamp (which I think can be more easily attained that we would like) but the fact that I know what the ingredients are they are not just chemical formulas that can be anything. Angel Baby products give you that peace of mind and can be found in O’baby Organics but I have not ever found what I am looking for in there. I appreciate and believe in what they do and I understand that this is a matter of opinion but they don’t ever have what I want so I am back to the internet. So now WHY does somebody not do something about this?? Free shipping over a certain dollar amount? Distribution in more than one place? Any other suggestions??

I was simply searching for a detangler that contained in it ingredients that I could pronounce. No problem, right? Wrong. This took me in excess of an hour and while I did order something it was not exactly what I would have liked. When it gets here we will see how it works. I don’t even remember what I settled on because by the time I picked one my eyes were crossed form looking. If you “Google” “organic baby products” a whole list of stuff comes up. Among the products is also a brand called “Mustela” which my own hairstylist told me about as product she knew worked with some but was not sure about what they were made out of. But since their label is not available on the site I could not buy their stuff although they have a long history.

I just want to be able to read the label!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

My Three Year Old Girl: Three going on twenty-three

I love my three year old daughter. I love them both of course but I wanted to talk about her for a minute. She is so much fun for me. Just like a friend who I would hang out with. She loves shoes, handbags, dresses, and having her nails done. She even sits still waiting for nail polish to dry! Did I mention she is three?? All of this aside I swear that there are times that I think she is going through puberty! I mean this is not what I would call the “terrible twos or threes” - this is butting heads with me in a way that is very different from the way she interacts with just about everyone else! She is pretty smart and does have a BIG personality but this is something else.

I am already “uncool” and a “PITA” to her. Like when I ask her to do something she does not want to she will actually roll her eyes. This is unbelievable to me! It is so interesting because she does really like hanging out with and doing stuff with me but I am the first person to hear about it when something is not to her satisfaction. This is a relationship unlike any I have even been in! I really do love doing things with her and she does usually wind up doing what I ask of her but it is not without some work. I have to work for and explain everything more than everyone else has to but I guess I do also get preference from her more often too. She is a daddy’s girl but daddy is still daddy.

It may not sound like it but I enjoy her so much because of her personality. I think it is so cute and I have learned so much from her. Particularly in the department of patience…I just am not sure if all three year old girls are like this??

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Introduction to Kidding Around in Town [dot] com

Our (my husband and my) goal is to provide parents with information, a forum, a voice, and most importantly a partnership. I am the mother of two little girls. My oldest is 3 and her little sister (and target of her frustration) is 18 months old. My husband is a wiz at the internet and works for Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center so I am lucky. This idea came to me while doing what I love most - things with my girls. I was looking for a place to find what is going on in town for kids their ages. As a matter of fact it was just when my oldest turned three that I realized that this opened up a whole new realm of things to do. So I began my search for a calendar of events for this area.

What I found was that there was no good, inclusive source of information about what to do with kids in town. There are many web sites and magazines that give you some information but I wanted something comprehensive that I could look at in the form of a calendar and then make decisions about what I wanted to do after having looked at all (most) of the options in one place. Since I could not find anything like this I made it myself. I am not claiming to have captured absolutely everything going on but I think it is pretty darn close! There is a submission form on this site for things I may have missed. Please let me know and I will add whatever!

Given the economic environment of the present time I have also paid special attention to discounted and FREE events and I have an entire calendar dedicated to “Meal Deals” in town. Check it out! I have currently limited the area included to Winston-Salem, Clemmons and Lewisville just in the interest of getting something out there that will serve my immediate community. I will probably start including other surrounding areas soon…My goal is to have the next month’s calendar completed by the 15th of the previous month (ex: September will be complete by August 15th).

I also really like to write about children and I have a real interest in learning about most things concerning them so you will find a blog here that I hope you will read and comment on. Let’s be friends and support each other. I think we have a lot to learn from one another. It is important to feel safe in talking about issues regarding our children. Mothers need a sounding board. I think we need a place to go to ask those questions that we have always wanted to but never got the chance to. Personally I have had a lot of them. From things like what kind of sunscreen works the best to fast and healthy meal ideas there are so many things we need to talk about J I love talking about my girls and I love being there for other parents who maybe going through something I have either been through or know something about. And if I don’t know the answer or have any advice I am sure that one of you does! There are so many things I have wanted to talk about since the birth of my first child in 2006 and I can think of no better way to share and support than this. Please join me in the journey of raising my kids.

We will not ever charge parents for using whatever we have available on this site but if you like what you see please tell everyone! This is what will keep us going-traffic. We would like to keep the site going for us but it is more important to keep it going for you all and for all of our children. After all, we all need each other.

We are so excited to have you!